Posted inPeople Moves

FSA people moves (03 – 09 February 2021)

Blackrock names new APAC head; M&G creates key distribution role in Hong Kong; RBC WM hires from Bank of Singapore; HKMA extends banking talent programme; and more…
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Blackrock has named Rachel Lord as its new Hong Kong-based chair and head of Asia-Pacific, effective 1 May, subject to regulatory approval, according to a statement from the firm.

She will replace Geraldine Buckingham, who took up the chair and Asia-Pacific head role in February 2019.

Buckingham has decided to step back from her role to spend more time with her family, but will continue to work with Blackrock as a senior adviser, according a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman of the firm.

In the interim, Mark Weidman, Blackrock’s head of international and of corporate strategy, will be taking care of the day-to-day management of the Asia-Pacific business as Lord transitions into her new role.

Lord, who is a member of the firm’s global executive committee, most recently headed Blackrock’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), a role she has held since 2017.

Before that, Lord served as EMEA head of iShares and head fo global clients, ETF and index investments. She joined Blackrock in 2013 from Citigroup, where she served as global head of corporate equity derivatives, following a 13-year tenure at Morgan Stanley.


RBC Wealth Management has appointed Xygent Chan as executive director to head a newly created private bank team based in Hong Kong, according to a statement from the firm.

Chan will be responsible for leading and growing client relationships for the firm’s private banking business. He assumed his new role at the end of December and reports to Ignatius KK Chong, RBC Wealth’s head of private banking for Greater China.

Chan has at least 30 years of industry experience. Before RBC Wealth, he was at Bank of Singapore, where he was a senior relationship manager. Prior to that, he worked with a number of banks, including Coutts, UBP and ICBC.

RBC Wealth has hired a number of new relationship managers in Asia over the past year, including several in Hong Kong focusing on growing the bank’s client base in Greater China, according to the statement.

These hire include Ida Lew, director and head of strategic initiatives for Greater China, who joined in December to support the growth of the firm’s China market business. In November, it also appointed Juan Aronna as head of investments for wealth management international and wealth management Asia, responsible for the leadership of RBC Wealth’s investment teams in London, Jersey, Singapore and Hong Kong.

In October, RBC Wealth announced the hires of two fixed income specialists, Shawn Sim and Kennard Ling, to enhance its advisory investment solutions for private banking clients in Asia. In August, it announced a number of relationship management appointments in Singapore, including Jason Tong as executive director, to serve the financial and wealth planning needs of its HNW and UHNW clients.


M&G Investments has hired Joseph Wong as head of intermediary channels for Hong Kong, according to a press statement.

In this newly created role, Wong will be responsible for leading the Hong Kong team to develop and maintain relationships with key intermediary clients and prospects, particularly private banks and external asset managers. He will report to Berny Lin, head of distribution for Asia (ex-Japan).

Wong was previously at Franklin Templeton Investments, where he spent around 10 years in the Hong Kong office. In his last role, he was responsible for developing business through a wholesale network including private banks, retail banks, insurance companies, independent financial advisors and investment platforms in Hong Kong and China.

He has around 20 years of experience in the financial industry, also having worked for AIG (now AIA), Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Shanghai Commercial Bank.


Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, has made seven new Asia hires, in a move to further grow its business in the region.

The new hires join the Hong Kong and Sydney offices and span client services, fund management and sales.

To support the firm’s distribution efforts in Asia, Nuveen appointed Denise Ying as vice president for international advisory services, responsible for supporting institutional clients in Greater China. She reports to Kelvin Cheung, managing director and chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

Betty Zhang and Mia Yang also join the distribution team as assistant vice presidents in client services, also reporting to Cheung.

Meanwhile, supporting the investment teams in Asia are Jing Zhou, YoungJee Jang, Anthea Trazzera and Carmen Hawkey.

Zhou joins as a senior director in the alternatives and strategic transactions team for data centre solutions, and will contribute to the growth and management of Nuveen Real Estate’s alternative platform. He will report to Carsten Kebeddies, Asia-Pacific managing director and head of the alternatives and strategic transactions.

Jang has taken the role of associate in the fund management team, reporting to Louise Kavanagh, head of fund management for Asia-Pacific. She will predominantly work on the region’s flagship real estate platform, the Asia Pacific Cities strategy.

Trazzera joins as a senior associate supporting transactional activity in the Australian market, while Hawkey joins as an associate in the Asia-Pacific real estate debt team.

Separately, the firm has also announced a renewed leadership line-up in Asia-Pacific for its real estate platform, as part of a broader global shift towards a sector-based organisational model.

Louis Kavanagh will be taking on the dual role of head of funds management and chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific, overseeing the Nuveen Real Estate Business in the region. Kavanagh, who is based in Hong Kong, will be part of the global executive leadership team. She will continue to retain oversight on Nuveen’s Asia Pacific Cities Strategy.

Rick Marston will assume the title of head of Australian transactions with an additional regional office sector role, and will report to Kavanagh.

In 2020, Nuveen achieved total committed client inflows of around $8bn in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, doubling its annual target of $4bn. The firm has grown its AUM in the region to nearly $30bn from $6bn since 2016, according to the statement.

Globally, Nuveen managed $1.1trn in assets globally as of the end of September.


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has extended the banking talent programme amid the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Hong Kong’s economy and labour market, according to an announcement by the regulator.

The programme, jointly launched by the HKMA and the banking industry, will be extended to upcoming fresh graduates this year through offering six-month work opportunities and professional training starting September 2021. The existing programme for recruited graduates in 2020 will also be extended for a period of up to six months, depending on the operational needs of participating institutions.

The programme was first launched last year to provide fresh graduates with short-term work opportunities and professional training, with a view to alleviating the impact of the pandemic on the supply of young talent in the banking sector. Around 300 work opportunities from 40 participating institutions were offered to undergraduates of local universities last year.

With the support of the industry, the scale of the 2021 programme will be larger with more job opportunities, and the scope will be expanded to cover graduates from universities outside Hong Kong, in addition to those from local universities.

Around 450 openings will be offered, and work opportunities will be provided in areas ranging from front-line operations to back-office functions in retail and commercial banking, according to the statement.

A series of induction seminars organised by the HKMA, in collaboration with the HKIB, as well as industry-specific training courses will be provided to relevant graduates.

Same as the 2020 programme, the HKMA will reimburse participating institutions up to 50% of the monthly salary (HK$12,000) of programme participants, and subsidise the fees for relevant professional training courses attended by the graduates (up to HK$5,000 per person).

For those existing graduates under the 2020 programme whose employment will be extended by the participating institutions, the HKMA will continue to reimburse up to 50% of the monthly salary of programme participants during the extended period, the HKMA noted.

“As the labour market is likely to remain challenging amid the lingering pandemic, the extension of the programme will provide a valuable opportunity for our young talent to gain more work experience and financial knowledge so that they can better prepare themselves for a future career in the banking sector when the economy recovers,” Eddie Yue, HKMA’s CEO, said in the statement.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.